I happened upon Kelly (above) photographing the plant in the garden of Donna Fowler on the Austin Fling (I've not yet written about the garden itself, coming soon!). I was instantly smitten.
I thought it was a Bromeliad of some sort — never having seen it before and going on looks alone — but Kelly was able to tell me it's name, Callisia fragrans. It's in the Commelinaceae (Spiderworts) family and hails from Mexico.
The flowers are said to be fragrant, but I don't remember a scent.
Surely you can see why I would think Bromeliad?
The same garden had a few plants tucked into the base of large containers.
As I've previously written, I did end up with a few pieces of this plant. Post Austin Fling Kelly sent me a couple pieces of her plant and Lori gave me a few pieces before I even left Austin. I sent Lori a photo of them tucked in my bulletin-board planter and mentioned I hoped that I'd worked the base in far enough that it made contact with the soil and would root.
Her reply was hilarious: "well, they're one step up from plastic plants, so if you didn't it'll be months before you'll be able to tell..." and she was right. The entire wall planter is now in the basement for winter, when I took it down, off the wall outside, the piece of Callisia fragrans on the left fell out of the planter. It looked as fresh as the day I tucked it in, last May, but it had never rooted.
The ones on the right were firmly rooted in place though, and just now — comparing the outdoor and indoor photos — I see they've grown quite a bit too.
I stuck the one that fell out of the wall planter into the Bromeliad trashcan-lids, which are also downstairs for the winter. I figure with all that soil contact it's got to root, right?
Please forgive me as I go a bit off-subject to share the fabulous chartreuse trashcan-lid supports. We bought a sonatube (concrete form) and cut it in half (cheap!), so I wouldn't have to haul in the metal bases from outside. But the cardboard form was annoyingly printed up with all sorts of yellow and black graphic text so I painted them with the same color as our front door. Extra paint in the can meant the project was free. I love the result.
I also love this Bromeliad, which I can see front and center now, all winter long.
But back to the subject of this post, Callisia fragrans. Here's another of my originals. It wasn't until I brought the "lids" inside that I noticed it was already sending out new growth.
Two new stems in fact...
And here's the other...
In warmer parts of the world, where this plant can grow in the ground, it's thought of as a garden weed, and its common name is "inch plant" because it inches out on its stems which root when they come in contact with moist soil.
About the time I was thinking I'd better be bringing my plants indoors (because of our cool nights) my fellow blogger Caroline wrote about her stunning plant (here). She let me borrow a couple of her photos, so you can see what a really happy Callisia fragrans looks like...
|photo courtesy Caroline Homer|
Isn't it fabulous? Caroline gardens in Austin, and also needs to to bring her plant indoors for the season. Isn't it odd that this plant isn't hardy in Austin either, yet they've got it available and you never see it on offer up here in Portland?
|photo courtesy Caroline Homer|
Because, at this point I was crushing heavy on this plant I went searching online for someplace to buy it and soon made my first ever Etsy purchase. There were several sellers offering this plant but SunshineByRaveewan had the best price and her shop inspired confidence, many others did not.
She offered 2 plants for $4, what a deal (okay shipping cost drives up the price substantially, but still, what a great price). I was not disappointed when the plants showed up.
They were all large, healthy, and she even included a couple of extra plants.
And of course coming from Santa Barbara they were colored up with sun exposure and maybe a little drought stress. I'm falling deeper in love...
Weather Diary, Nov 5: Hi 58, Low 49/ Precip trace
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